Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Louisiana Lafayette vs. Iowa State preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m. Central Time, Saturday September 12th, 2020, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Spread: Iowa State (-11.5)
Iowa State Fun Fact: This will be the Cyclones first ever football game against Louisiana Lafayette
QB Levi Lewis
Levi was finally given the reigns of the Rajin’ Cajuns offense last season and he did not disappoint. The offense finished in the top ten in scoring offense, total offense, and yards per play last season. Meanwhile Levi’s passing stats were impressive as well as he tossed 26 touchdowns on just 4 picks. Now entering his senior season, Levi looks to take this offense even higher.
RB’s Elijah Mitchell and Raymond Calais
It is not often I put two players together but these two make an outstanding duo rushing the football. They combined for over 2,000 yards rushing last season as well as 22 scores on the ground. And while Mitchell has more yards and carries, Raymond Calais averaged an absurd 7.6 yards per carry last season. Even though Levi Lewis can sling it a little bit, this team is not afraid to run the football by any means.
DT Zi’Yon Hill
Even though Zi’Yon plays on the inside, he was just one of four players who had 50 plus tackles for the Rajin’ Cajuns last season. And while he may not have the most eye-popping stats playing defensive tackle, he is by far the anchor of this front seven.
QB Brock Purdy
This one was a no brainer. Brock was fantastic last season throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and tossing 27 touchdowns on just 9 picks. But do not let his arm fool you because he was also able to run in 8 scores last year as well. Now in his third year at Iowa State, I expect big things for Brock Purdy and depending on who you ask, he is the best quarterback in the Big 12.
RB Breece Hall
There was no doubt who the best back was for the Cyclones last season. Although he did get all the carries right away, once he separated himself it was clear as day who the best back was for Iowa State. As a true freshman Breece displayed his talent when he got most of the carries. He rushed for 897 yards and 9 touchdowns a year ago and now with him as the clear-cut number one back, I think a big season is due for Mr. Hall.
DE JaQuan Bailey
Unfortunately, JaQuan was banged up for almost all the 2019 season and heading into last season, he was my preseason pick for Big 12 defensive player of the year. Why? Because in 2018 he was a man on a mission with 8 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Now fully healthy, I expect him better than ever.
I am going to make it simple. Iowa State better not overlook this team. Louisiana Lafayette is a good group of five team and will be a contender to knock off Appalachian State to win the Sun Belt this season. The Rajin’ Cajuns have a solid quarterback, two capable running backs and an experienced offensive line. However, the lack reliable pass catchers with their leading receiver gone from a year ago.
Defensively, this team returns a ton of veterans and will likely be one of the top Sun Belt defenses and nationally when it comes to pure statistics. Do no sleep on this team because they can knock off a power five opponent.
This will be a good first game for the Cyclones to have a nice little test before kicking off Big 12 play. I know Brock Purdy will be good this season, but they cannot have another repeat of the Northern Iowa opener like last season. I expect a simple game plan and a balanced offense. Get Breece Hall going and let everything in the passing game open from the run game to get superstar tight end Charlie Kolar the football.
On defense, Iowa State looks to be stout once again, but my eyes will be on the interior defensive line without Ray Lima. If they can keep the Rajin’ Cajuns in check on the ground, this defense has the guys to get after the quarterback in the passing game and an experienced secondary with Greg Eisworth leading the way. But the key to this game is not making mistakes. No blown coverages and keep the turnovers to no more than one.
Iowa State 28 Louisiana Lafayette 17
The Cyclones are going to be rusty, just like each Big 12 team will be. Plus I expect Matt Campbell to keep a lot of the playbook close to the vest before conference play gets underway in a couple of weeks. Iowa State has not usually blown out some of these non-conference teams one would expect them to, so I expect a comfortable victory, but not a blowout, on Saturday.
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